-the world as I see it
When in Barcelona, you NEVER ask “what do I do here?” That is just wrong. The question to be asked is “what would I rather not do”, as the city has a lot to offer. So if you’re here on a short trip, you need to plan it well.
Barcelona -there’s something in there for everyone.
As for me, I like ’em parcs and jardains – green and clean 😀
Here’s a list of my favourite parks in Barcelona, not necessarily in the order of my preference.
The metro stop closest to this park is Vallcarca on L3 (the green line). It is a bit of a walk from there and be prepared for a steep climb towards the end. Just when you’ve huffed and puffed enough, and shed a couple of kilos (or so you hope), you will find escalators to take you up further.
The park epitomizes the harmony between architecture and nature as envisioned by Gaudi. Since the space on which it was built up is hilly, you can get great shots of the city.
As in the case of all Gaudi’s works, tourists throng here. Don’t go looking for some quiet time to relax, explore the park instead. I consider Park Guell as one of those places where people get inspired and where ideas take shape in your mind. I can picture architects, artists, writers and the like seated on the undulating bench, letting their pencils do all the talking. The undulating bench which lines the square, forms the roof of a colonnaded hall. Apparently, the rainwater collected from the square is directed to a tank below the hall, through the columns. The famous dragon that you see at the entrance, acts as the outlet for the water coming in from the tank.
The houses built at the entrance to the park remind me of smurf houses. The one with the big tower was originally supposed to be the keeper’s house and the other one was meant to accommodate the porter. A lot of street musicians and bands play at different venues in the park, which adds to the merriment in the atmosphere. I was most tickled by this one performer in a skin tight leopard print outfit, who was growling an off-key song whose lyrics went ” I’m gonna kill you”, which scared away all the kids and any other very-generous soul who planned on giving him royalties. If you ever go to Barcelona, do not miss Park Guell for the world.
Parc de la Cuitadella
You can get to this park easily from the metro station ‘Arc de triomf’ on L1 (the red line). The park is famous for housing the Parliament of Catalonia, which isn’t accessible to the public. The park’s other attractions include a zoo, a few museums and a lake. You can hire a boat and go rowing in the lake. There is also a beautiful cascade below an archway, which is topped by intensely golden statues. For me, this park would be the perfect place to hang out with your family. Although not free from tourists, you can manage to tuck yourself away in a quiet spot.
Parc del palau de Pedralbes
This is a small park located just outside the exit of the metro station Palau Reial on the L3 (green line). The charm lies in the simplicity of the place. The exuberant foliage and lush green carpets make it a perfect place to rest your head and have a siesta in the summer. The palace on the premises has been converted into a Ceramic museum.
Parc de Montjuic
You can get to Montjuic by taking the funicular from the metro station Parallel (lines L2 and L3). Once you exit the funicular, you can get to the top of the mountain by cable car, bus or you could even walk it up. I prefer taking the thirty minute walk along those snaky roads to the top. Before you make your way to the top, you must spend some time at the park near the funicular station. Take your volleyball/football along or if you aren’t in the mood for some physical activity, just take some playing cards along or rest by the pond. You can then head up to the top where there is an old fortress. Since the hill is flat-topped, you can go around it and get a view of the different parts of the city. From where I was seated, I could also see the planes coming in over the water and landing in the airport.
You might remember that Barcelona hosted the summer Olympics in 1992. At Montjuic, you will find the Olympic stadium and Museum and the Olympic tower located beyond the funicular station (downhill). If you go down further, you will find the MNAC, which is the national art museum of Catalonia. Once you descend the steps of the MNAC, you will see the “Magic Fountain.” I know the name sounds corny, but don’t let that put you off. This musical fountain is one of the best I have seen till date. Make sure you see it after sunset, when it’s all lit-up and brilliantly coloured.
Parc del Guinardo
The easiest way to get to this park is to get onto the bus no. 28 from Placa Catalunya. You need to get off at the last stop and go up a hill, until you get to the bunkers. This is the best section of the park. I would advise you to go there sometime in the evening, when the sky is still bright and wait until sunset. You can see the whole city spread out before you and notice how beautiful it looks whether it is sunkissed or bathed in the pale moon light. The place is not touristy and you can mostly spot just locals there. Take some snacks and drinks with you and watch the changing hues of the sky. It tends to get a bit chilly up there once the sun goes down, so don’t forget to take your jacket along 🙂
Parc del Guinardo better known as the ‘bunkers park’ is one of my favourite spots in Barcelona. In the picture below, you see the Transmission tower and the church at Tibidabo. Only after I took this picture, I decided that I would not leave Barcelona without going to Tibidabo,and yes, I finally did go 😀